A well-matched bunch of 10 3-year-old fillies has passed the entry-box for Friday's Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II) at Pimlico. The nationally-televised contest (ESPN, 5-6 p.m. EDT) will be run at its traditional distance of 1 1/8 miles.
The Bob Baffert-trained Santa Catarina, second in the Kentucky Oaks (gr. I) on May 2 for owners Bob and Beverly Lewis will take a lot of action, as will several other graded stakes-winning fillies. Santa Catarina has been installed the even-money favorite on the track's morning line.
Grade I-placed three times as a 2-year-old, Santa Catarina makes only her third start of the year in the Black-Eyed Susan. Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens will be aboard the daughter of Unbridled who was a $950,000 Keeneland September yearling in 2001.
The Gilbert Campbell bred and owned Ivanavinalot seeks to get back on track at Old Hilltop after an uncharacteristic seventh-place finish in the Ashland Stakes (gr. I) at Keeneland on April 5. The Florida-bred daughter of West Acre has earned $618,300 in her young career, mainly running in Florida for trainer Kathleen O'Connell. Earlier this year she won the Bonnie Miss Stakes (gr. II) at Gulfstream at the Black-Eyed Susan distance. She's the 2-1 second choice on the morning line.
A filly on the way up is Roar Emotion (5-1), who will make just her fifth career start in the Black-Eyed Susan. Bred in Kentucky by Brenda Jones, the daughter of Roar, out of the Capote mare Emotional Outburst, is coming off a second-place effort in the seven-furlong Cicada Stakes (gr. III) at Aqueduct on March 22.
Last year, the Carlos Martin-trained filly won the nine-furlong Demoiselle Stakes (gr. II) for owner Joseph Allen.
The local contingent's best hope is in the form of Grace Bay, a Maryland-bred filly by Waquoit. A winner of the 1 1/16-mile Caesars Wish Stakes in her last start, the Steven Newby-owned miss has won three of nine career starts and has earned $107,780. All of her starts have come on the Maryland circuit while under the care of trainer Dale Capuano.
Grace Bay (20-1) will be ridden by Ryan Fogelsonger, the Maryland-based apprentice who won last year's Eclipse Award as the most outstanding apprentice rider.
Black-Eyed Susan Stakes (gr. II), 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/8 miles, $200,000, Pimlico, Friday, May 16 (ESPN, 5-6 p.m. EDT)
PP, Horse, Jockey, ML
1, Austin's Mom, Jerry Bailey, 30-1
2, Roar Emotion, John Velazquez, 5-1
3, Lets Just Do It, No Rider, 30-1
4, Blushing Valleys, Rick Wilson, 40-1
5, Ivanavinalot, Edgar Prado, 2-1
6, Grace Bay, Ryan Fogelsonger, 20-1
7, Holiday Lady, Jose Santos, 10-1
8, Santa Catarina, Gary Stevens, Even
9, Fircroft, Pat Day, 12-1
10, Xtra Heart, No Rider, 20-1